Monday, August 24, 2009

Justice -- Not a Meaningless Word

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls in the water, because a man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there was no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity – book II, chapter 1)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Thoughts About the Faith

I was born into a Cajun French family and baptised as a Roman Catholic. At the age of seven, while living in Eunice, LA my parents took us out of the RCC and we became Baptist. We were, for a time Independent Baptist, but eventually settled in as Southern Baptist. My parents agreed with Baptist teachings, but they were open to visiting other Churches as well. I remember attending a Pentecostal service or two and I also remember numerous visits to Church of Christ congregation that an aunt and uncle attended. My parents were instrumental in getting them to leave the Roman Church as well.
Growing up I heard Independent Baptist preachers, in then overwhelmingly Roman Catholic South Louisiana, preach about how all Catholics were bound for hell, unless they became saved and left the RCC. I also learned from my Roman Catholic kin folk and friends that there was no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church, so my parents, siblings and I were going to hell for leaving the true church.
I became solidly Baptist as I grew up, but I always disliked grossly anti-Catholic preaching. All my grandparents, and all my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends were Roman Catholic and I did not believe that they were “not Christian” because they were RCC. I also knew that I was a Christian and I knew that Christ was my saviour, so I did not believe that I was going to hell because I was no longer a member of the RCC.
At eighteen I joined the Navy. During my first year in the service “Church” was not important to me. As a rule, I did not attend worship services for the first year and when I did go to a Church, it was because I wanted to meet a girl that attended there. In my second year in the Navy I experienced a crisis of faith, determined to know if there was a God or there was not. This crisis caused me to seriously study about God, religion and faith. Obviously I have come down on the side of the Christian faith.
I began my studies twenty-nine years ago, and while I like to read and study many things, I continue to read and study about God, faith religion. In my mid twenties I left the Baptist Church because my theology was evolving and I had become Reformed in my theology. I had come to disagree with the Baptist understanding of Baptism and turned to the more traditional Protestant understanding of paedobaptism (i.e. Infant baptism), but in reality I remained fairly Baptist in my thinking.
Over the years I have read sizable chunks of the Church Fathers, Medieval Christian thinkers, Protestant Reformers, Roman Catholics, Baptist, Presbyterians, Lutherans along with the Bible. Today, my theology is solidly and much more consistently Reformed, I hold to covenant theology. I have a high view of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and believe them to be the word of God. It is through the Bible alone that we learn about the true and living God and how we are to act toward him and our fellow man. I have a high view of baptism. I believe baptism is a serious “covenant” act that unites all who receive it to Christ and His Church in some sense.
I also take the authority of the Church seriously. I have VERY strong differences with the RCC, but if I were in Communion with the Roman Catholic Church today, which I am not, and had the theological beliefs that I have today, I would not leave the Roman Church to join another church. I would stay in that Communion because of my understanding authority.
As things are, I am not in Communion with Rome and I don’t see how I ever could be. The RCC requires those joining the Roman church to affirm that they agree with all that Rome teaches. I could never make such an affirmation, because I disagree with Catholic teaching at many points, I would have to knowingly lie in order to take the oath required by the RCC to be in commion with that church.
I hope what I have said above is clear.
Coram Deo,